Rhythm of the Saints

Director: Sarah Rogacki
Screenwriters: Cyn Cañel Rossi

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Rena Juarez (Daniella Alonso) is not like most 15-year-old girls. An extraordinary Latina beauty from New York's Washington Heights, Rena is constantly teased for kicking around in a sports jersey, baseball cap, and baggy pants. And when she meets up with trouble, she and her friends turn to the mystical practice of Santeria to cast spells on her perpetrators. But not everyone in her circle understands the patience and faith her spiritual practice requires, so when a violent domestic crisis gets out of hand and the power of the conjured saints mixes with the friends' youthful lust for revenge, things go awry.

A visually rich and sensuous film, Rhythm of the Saints lures us into a fascinating urban teenage world that is authentic, rare, and fresh. First-time director Sarah Rogacki gives us beautiful filmmaking that accomplishes a palpable sense of place and atmosphere, draws a career-best performance by Sarita Choudury, and debuts the talents of a new star in Daniella Alonso. Rhythm of the Saints is a luminous experience that continues to linger in deep places of the heart.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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